The 2024 NFL Draft could become one of the best rookies classes in the history of the LA Rams franchise. It can just as easily be a blemish in the history of the team as well, an example of missed opportunity. After all, the Rams are not in the same position as they were just one short year ago. This is a team that has filled many of the glaring needs on the roster. While some needs still exist, the changing conditions of the team create an entirely new set of challenges.
The first challenge begins with the very strategy used to define the way the front office approaches the draft. Should the personnel executives ignore team needs, and simply select the best player on the board? Or should the team scan the board's available prospects, and target the one who is closest to the current needs of the team?
The debate over drafting for need, for the best player available, or simply some convergence of the two draft strategies has often sparked a spirited debate among NFL fans, and fans of the LA Rams are no exception. After all, while the range of who a team adds to, upgrades, or simply improves the depth of their roster in the offseason, one point is glaringly obvious: It's tough to judge a cake when it's only raw ingredients or even batter.
I believe that the 2023 NFL Draft was so successful because the two different strategies were almost identical. The Rams draft could select the Best Player Available (BPA) because the team had needs at almost every position. In that scenario, the players who are selected are almost immediately thrust into the rotation, many of whom are Day 1 starters, and the rest is history.
Keep in mind that the team opted to grab the best prospects, the best fits for the team, throughout the draft. BPAs have a distinct advantage though. Because professional football is a competitive sport, the most talented and best fitting prospects can earn playing time via OTAs and training camp performances.
While rookie WR Puka Nacua was an incredible steal of the 2023 NFL Draft, I feel that it's safe to assume that the team's front office never imagined the 177th overall player selected would set All-Time Rookie Receiver records. So too did the Rams land a dominating duo on the defensive side of the ball, but did so by simply being true to their draft board.
I believe that is the key to the 2024 NFL Draft. Even as we debate who and when prospects should be selected, as long as the team stays true to their board, great things can happen. Not every roster need was met in the 2023 NFL Draft. The team signed DB Ahkello Witherspoon, WR Demarcus Robinson, RB Royce Freeman, and DB John Johnson III well after the draft to round out the depth on the roster. In the end, that all seemed to work out nicely.
So I hope for more of the same in 2024.